Extracurriculars: Too Much of a Good Thing

extracurricular activities, college applications, afterschool activities, sports, arts, teen jobs


August is a fifteen year old girl who has lived in Maryland most of her life. She loves writing and music, her favorite subject is Science, and she’s a vegetarian. She wants to become a journalist and is working as hard as she can towards this goal.


Extracurricular activities: They are our hobbies, our passions, our time wasters, our resume builders, and some can even be our scholarship winners. Extracurricular activities can be great and yes, you should do them, but there can be too much of a good thing. Too many extracurricular activities can have a negative impact, such as students’ grades dropping, increased stress, and a development of unhealthy habits. But how do we know when this happens? How are we supposed to know if our children are worked a little too hard or stretched a little too thin? Are there physical signs? Sometimes. But most of the time, what you as a parent will need to look for will not be as obvious.

When a teen takes on a new extracurricular activity, there will usually be work to do for it outside of the activity’s designated time (i.e. homework for classes, practice for a soccer team, selling cookies for girl scouts etc.), but when a teen has too much on their plate sometime these responsibilities get left behind. If your teen isn’t keeping up with whatever duties they may have for their activities, such as showing up late for work or not help with a project for a club, it may be time to rethink their participation in some of them.

Probably one of the most obvious signs that your teen is in too deep is when their grades begin to drop. When people take on too much they become stressed and unwilling to work and some things may get left behind and more often than not, schoolwork is a part of it. So if you notice your teen’s grades dropping it may be time to drop one of those classes or extracurricular activities, but be sure to talk to them about it first because there can be many other reasons why their grades may change.

What else changes when your teen is under too much pressure? Their health. When your teen has too much on their plate and too much work, concern for their personal wellbeing may become lost in hustle and bustle. Their diet may become skewed, as they don’t have the time to make something and just grab whatever they can find for lunch, or maybe they don’t even have the time to eat at all. Sleep is also something that is greatly disturbed by pressure. Teens may not get a full night’s sleep if they are over worked.

Bottom line, if your teen seems to be too busy to enjoy the clubs and work they signed up for then it may be time to talk to them and find out why.


Photo: Walt Stoneburner from Flickr


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